The brainchild of "The Real Deal" RD Reynolds and "The Worldwide Menace" Merle Vincent, WrestleCrap was created as a "hall of shame" for Professional Wrestling, a place where they could stretch their comedic muscles by poking fun at the pseudo-sport. It has since grown into wrestling fandom's anti-Serious Business, a place where people can remind themselves that wrestling is inherently silly. In short, it's the conscience of the Internet Wrestling Community.
Each week, the WrestleCrap staff post an induction that tears one of wrestling's stranger or sillier gimmicks, feuds, or storylines apart. The site also has classic inductions as well.note Originally, the inductions were written by RD (or Merle Vincent, before his suicide); RD handed head writing duties over to his protégé Triple Kelly for a couple years. Triple Kelly subsequently left the site, and now the inductions are mainly written by Art0Donnel and occasionally Justin Henry.
WrestleCrap has grown greatly since its inception, and has come to host the following additional features:
- Current content:
- It Came From YouTube: Where the gang takes a look at a weird and wacky video from wrestling's past.
- Someone Bought This!: A look at the wrestling merchandise that was, but should not have been.
- Rewriting the Book: Jed Shaffer's Alternate History Fan Fic series that explores how wrestling's past might have gone differently with a key nudge in the opposite direction from time to time.
- WrestleCrap Headlies: In a parody of various less reputable wrestling newz sites, WrestleCrap decides to take a crack at making up their own wrestling news.
- Ye Olde Christmas Movies: Each December, WrestleCrap takes a break from wrestling to take a look at the worst Christmas movies of all time.
- Former content:
- Burgan's Gimmick Table: Derek Burgan's look at the wrestling merchandise that never was. Retired as of the 2013 site redesign.
- Weird World of Wrestling: Formerly a separate site, Madison Carter would take a look at the weird stuff that happened in the independent circuit. Retired as of the site redesign.
- RD's Ramblings: A section where RD gave his thoughts about the current events in pro wrestling. He would also response to emails that he received. Retired as of the site redesign.
- RD's Book and DVD Reviews: A section where RD would review wrestling related books and DVDs. Retired as of the site redesign.
- Jobber of the Week: Blade Braxton's weekly salute to the men who lose for a living.
- The RD and Blade Show: A podcast featuring RD and Blade Braxton musing on wrestling and life in general (with the occasional interview). The RD and Blade Show was revived as a separate series exclusive to Patreon in 2019.
- WrestleCrap Radio: A podcast featuring RD musing on wrestling and life in general (with the occasional interview). WrestleCrap Radio ran from 2005 to 2012, when the show was retired in favor of the new RD and Blade Show; the latter show itself was retired in 2015 to revive the old format. It was retired again in 2021 following Blade's passing.
WrestleCrap also gives out an annual Gooker Award in the first couple of months of a new year to the most horrid thing to happen in wrestling in the previous year. The award is named after The Gobbledy Gooker, which was possibly the worst thing ever in the World Wrestling Federation: they hyped the hatching of a giant egg for months going into Survivor Series 1990, where it finally hatched and gave us Hector Guerrero in a bad turkey suit dancing with "Mean" Gene Okerlund. With the exception of the 2001 and 2002 winners, which were chosen by RD himself, all of the winners have been decided by polling the site's visitors. The list of "winners" of the Gooker Award is a list of the worst modern pro wrestling angles ever:
- 2000: David Arquette, WCW Champion.
- 2001: The Invasion.
- 2002: The Katie Vick debacle.
- 2003: Al Wilson, Torrie Wilson's father.
- 2004: The 2004 Raw Diva Search.
- 2005: Jim Ross' (kayfabe) firing and the resulting colonoscopy skit.
- 2006: WWE's exploitation of Eddie Guerrero following his death, a.k.a. "Eddiesploitation".
- 2007: Hornswoggle is revealed to be Vince McMahon's son.
- 2008: Mike Adamle's stint in WWE.
- 2009: The Chavo Guerrero/Hornswoggle feud.
- 2010: The NEW Monday Night Wars.
- 2011: All things Michael Cole.
- 2012: TNA's Claire Lynch angle.
- 2013: Heel Dixie Carter.
- 2014: The Bella Twins feud/Vince McMahon's "brass rings" (co-winners).
- 2015: The Rusev-Lana-Dolph Ziggler-Summer Rae Love Trapezoid.note
- 2016: WrestleMania 32.
- 2017: Jinder Mahal, WWE Champion.note
- 2018: WWE's Crown Jewel.
- 2019: Seth Rollins vs. The Fiend at Hell in a Cell 2019.
- 2020: Retribution.
- 2021: NXT 2.0.
Not only has WrestleCrap become a popular online destination for wrestling fans, but its name itself has entered the Smart Mark lexicon. It's also gathered quite a following inside the business, as several wrestlers have written in to say how much they love the site, including no less than Chris Jericho. John Tenta, known to fans as "Earthquake", gave the site an exclusive interview and wrote the foreword to RD's first book.
Book? Yes, there have been two books based on the site, WrestleCrap: The Worst of Wrestling and The WrestleCrap Book of Lists!, and the notoriety gained from the site allowed RD to co-author the book, The Death of WCW.
Every December, the site has posted inductions of some of the worst Christmas movies of all-time, including Hulk Hogan's Santa with Muscles, Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, the 1959 Mexican movie Santa Claus, a 1986 remake of the classic holiday operetta Babes in Toyland (featuring Drew Barrymore, Keanu Reeves, Pat Morita, and an actor named Gorgy Gress as Georgie Porgie with a cameltoe), and a Goldberg-as-a-murderous-Santa film called Santa's Slay.
The site was redesigned in 2013 to become more of a blog format.
The site has also inspired several other sites which deal with other subjects in the same format- ie. Game Show Garbage.
This website provides examples of:
- Accentuate the Negative: As expected for a website with "Crap" in its name.
- Affectionate Parody: "To Haku!", a series of articles in which Harley Race, Fit Finlay, William Regal, Terry Funk, and Ron Simmons tell stories about the Tongan giant in the style of the classic "Bill Brasky" sketches from Saturday Night Live.
- The Alcoholic: Blade, in the early days, did the WrestleCrap Radio podcasts wasted.
- Anti-Humor: We get this instance during the Raw Underground induction:In this case, we get Shane's door man, and yes, that is in fact Omos in his WWE debut. What an auspicious start. Nowhere to go but up from here.
I don't mean that as a joke. It's impossible to go lower than this.
- April Fools' Day: One year when April Fools' Day was on a Friday, RD wrote "inductions" for Ric Flair and Chris Benoit. There was even an "guest induction" for the Shawn Michaels vs. Kurt Angle match at WrestleMania 21 written by "Art0Donnell's cousin, Rocky Melvin," and "Melvin" writes as if clearly they have next to no idea about wrestling, when actually it's mostly agreed to have been one of the best matches of the event.note
- Kent Jones, or any so-called YouTube "shooter"; they really look down on them.
- They declared war on former wrestler Damien Demento, who took a shot at them in his YouTube videos. They've since reconciled.
- Averted with Vince Russo. While the website is one of Russo's fiercest critics, he and RD are actually on good terms, leading to RD appearing on Russo's podcast and Russo plugging the 10th anniversary edition of The Death of WCW.
- Artistic License Geography: The induction of the 2019 angle of Roman Reigns' attacker points out that, contrary to what wrestling announcers have been telling us for years, there is no "Isle of Samoa", the nation actually being a ten-island archipelago.
- Author Appeal:
- Every Christmas, RD spends an update or two dissecting terrible movies, with an annual tradition of inducting a horrible Christmas movie in lieu of a wrestling angle/gimmick.
- RD has said several times that he loves Trish Stratus. Every induction involving her will always contain a line about how much RD loves her.
- RD is a big fan of "crooner" style theme songs, e.g. Kerwin White's. He says such songs do a great job establishing the characters and what they're about.
- Bait-and-Switch Comment: During the Gooker Award induction of Crown Jewel 2018, after mentioning all the controversies surrounding the event:Before the opening bell even rang, Crown Jewel was already a top contender for the 2018 Gooker Award. Fortunately, come November 2nd, it did not disappoint.
By which I mean, it sucked. Sorry for any confusion.
- Ban on Politics: One of the major rules on the message board is to never discuss politics or religion, though the rule was temporarily relaxed during the 2008 Presidential Election. That being said, they did re-promote the entry on Donald Trump buying Raw, written in 2013, throughout his presidential campaign and presidency.
- Berserk Button: RD had a huge disdain for Wikipedia. This disdain was due to some claims the site made which he considered to be some of the most outrageous things he has ever read and for declaring that he has died three times. He has since let up though he still takes an occasional shot.
- Beyond the Impossible: RD has stated that the site has a rule against inducting anything that happens in the same calendar year that it occurred. His reason behind this is that he feels that it's best to take a wait-and-see approach with a storyline before passing judgment. For the House of Horrors match between Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton at Payback 2017, however, not only did he break the rule and induct it almost immediately, as he saw nothing worthy about it, but he also preemptively gave it the Gooker Award in the belief that nothing else could possibly top it that year. Then Jinder Mahal's WWE Championship run happened, which proved him very wrong. note
- "Like most WrestleCrap inductions, this one is about Kane..."
- Blade was the regular victim of potshots from the rest of the staff, including Triple Kelly. When someone made a reference to (filthy) hobos, a remark that "Blade isn't here to defend himself!" usually followed.
- Celebrity Star: The site occasionally highlights wrestling's worst uses of these:
- Actor David Arquette's controversial stint as WCW Champion was the very first Gooker Award winner.
- The LaVar Ball incident from 2017, where he essentially ad-libbed his whole appearance on a Miz TV segment alongside his sons Lonzo and LaMelo, failed to build up to the intended payoff for the angle, Dean Ambrose endorsing their sportswear brand, and had LaMelo throw racial slurs, was inducted in January 2020.
- Chirping Crickets: Employed by RD on WrestleCrap Radio any time one of Blade's jokes fell flat. The WrestleCrap Radio Crickets have their own Facebook page and, back in the day, had their own MySpace page.
- Deconstruction: Of the very concept of WrestleCrap itself, if you can believe it. It was the 2006 Gooker Award winner: "Eddiesploitation." Aside from regretting offering it as a nominee, knowing it'd be the most difficult induction he'd have to write, RD noted that the site's tagline is "The Very Worst of Pro Wrestling." And "Eddiesploitation" was just that.
- Defeat Means Friendship: While they never really "defeated" Vince Russo, RD and the site were certainly critical of him, but he has been on their podcast, and quite cordial, twice. Once for an interview over how he got in the business and why he did what he did, and another to talk about anything out of the oridinary.
- Depending on the Author: Certain wrestlers tend to be viewed differently by different authors. One such example is John "Bradshaw" Layfield; one special induction in 2013 written by Justin Henry regarding the "Fandango Effect", about certain gimmicks that were spared from induction because their perfomers took the role seriously, mentions JBL as an example of this (going from tag team wrestler to Ted DiBiase-like millionaire heel main eventer in the span of a month) and compliments him for it. However, in other articles written by RD, RD can barely (if ever) hide his contempt for the man, such as in his induction of the last Saturday Night's Main Event, in which JBL is the very first wrestler to make an entrance:"I know there are some JBL fans out there. Somewhere. I mean, at least I've heard rumors of such. Not sure I've ever actually met one, and I know I've never talked to one. And for that, honestly? Gotta say I'm pretty thankful."
- Description Cut:
- Twice in the "Eddiesploitation" induction. First, after Chavo turns heel on Rey Mysterio:"Well, at least they didnt do something really dumb, like make Eddies widow (Vickie) a heel or something."(2 weeks later)"So now Vickie Guerrero turns heel, clobbering Rey with a steel chair."
- Then, immediately after:"At least kids werent involved."(2 weeks later)"Reys son Dominick appears on WWE TV. Remember Dominick? The kid that Eddy claimed was his own son because Rey was impotent? What a great angle that was."
- Twice in the "Eddiesploitation" induction. First, after Chavo turns heel on Rey Mysterio:
- Designated Girl Fight: Mentioned during Retribution's Gooker Award induction:A group of fifteen masked men and women swarmed Braun Strowman. In response, exactly fifteen Smackdown superstars rushed in to battle the invaders.
Within 45 seconds, every member of Retribution was expelled from the ring, and the only reason it took that long was that the male and female WWE superstars had to be careful to only fight gang members of the same gender.
- Dog Got Sent to a Farm: Referenced in the NXT 2.0 induction:In 2021, NXT wrestlers got "called up to the main roster" in much the same way one's childhood pets "went to live on a farm" when they got sick.
This all bodes poorly for Tommaso Ciampa and Pete Dunne, currently competing in dark matches on Smackdown and awaiting their main roster call-ups. At least theyll get to see their old dogs again.
- Even Beggars Won't Choose It: With TNA's long-standing reputation for happily picking up any WWE reject available, whether actually talented or not, this is implied when discussing Jenna Morasca's release from the company after her abysmal match with Sharmell at Victory Road 2009:It wasn't long after this that TNA decided they'd seen enough and showed Jenna the door.
And when TNA thinks you stink, it's time to start looking for another career.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Gay Popeye and Angry Jim Ross.
- Footnote Fever: The occasional "Note from RD" appears in inductions done by someone other than him.
- Forced Meme: In 2009, RD tried to force "Basketball Jones" (Triple Kelly's nickname for Batista) as a meme, even going as far as to filter Batista's name as "Basketball Jones" on the original forums. It failed.
- Fun with Acronyms - "Nathaniel Edward Rodham Davis," "NERD" a none to subtle shot at internet fans who worship TNA Impact.
- G.I.R.L.: The message boards were pranked by the "female" poster "Miss Kendrick" in 2009, and by "Starwolf" (who was dubbed "Starwang" by some posters) in 2007. This post pretty much describes it:ravenm: "Pretend to be a girl. Starwolf, Miss Kendrick, etc. Everyone will hate you..."
- Gratuitous Spanish:
- The site made one induction for Rambo y sus titanes ("Rambo and His Titans"), an Argentine wrestling TV show based on the action figures made from the Rambo children's cartoon, and as such it includes the occasional Spanish word.
- The 2022 April Fools' Day induction was an induction made entirely in Spanish of 100% Lucha, la película ("100% Wrestling: The Movie"), the film of the Argentine wrestling TV show 100% Lucha.
- Grumpy Old Man:
- Mic Check, the TNA correspondant is an old man who has lived forever and working in the radio market.
- Angry Jim Ross.
- Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?:
- When the 2004 Raw Diva Search won the Gooker Award, RD noted that his fanbase was primarily males who (presumably) enjoyed looking at attractive women, and yet that didn't stop them from voting the Diva Search as the worst of the year, because when you tune into a wrestling show, the first thing you assume you'll see is...well, wrestling.
- He has mentioned in separate inductions about the WWE Divas and WCW's Nitro Girls how wrestling has the uncanny ability to take some of the most gorgeous women and make them almost unwatchable. He's not sure how they do that, but they do.
- History Repeats: A special induction revolving around an article in the July 1995 issue of Pro Wrestling Illustrated was made specifically because RD noticed that a number of the problems the article pointed out about the pre-Attitude Era WWF of those days (excessive amount of rematches, bad announcers, a lack of attention of the women's and tag team divisions, etc.) were once again plaguing WWE in 2021.
- Hypocritical Humor:
- Used intentionally in the beginning of the Cena vs. Laurinaitis induction to point out that John Cena is unfairly criticized for most of the things that he does.
- At the beginning of the "brass rings" induction, RD and Art crack a joke about Vince McMahon looking like Barney Fife, then later give us this:
- Literal Metaphor: In the induction about the 1995 edition of WCW's Uncensored PPV, Art uses this to note that WCW darkened the footage from the King of the Road match:To avoid showing blood on camera, WCW had to literally edit the daylights out of the match...
- Malicious Misnaming: The new ring names adopted by the Retribution members are mocked in their Gooker induction in this manner. For instance, T-Bar gets called T-BOZ and C-SPAN at different points.
- Medal of Dishonor: The site's annual Gooker Award is presented to the worst angle or gimmick of the year.
- Message Board: After much demand, The Craphole was created on May 2011, around half a year after the website and its old message board (now The Freakin Awesome Network forums) parted ways in October 2010.
- News Parody: The "Headlies" section.
- Normal Fish in a Tiny Pond: During the Gooker Award induction of Jinder Mahal's WWE Championship reign, Art argues that Mahal became this upon arriving at a SmackDown brand that had been massively shortchanged in the Superstar Shakeup, losing several of its main eventers (Dean Ambrose, The Miz, Bray Wyatt) to Raw while AJ Styles was thrown into a United States Championship feud with another new SD arrival, Kevin Owens, leaving the brand scrambling to build up a new viable WWE title contender.
- "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer: Whenever there is something in an induction that sounds too far-fetched, an audio clip and/or screenshot will be used to confirm that the story is indeed true. Often complete with some variation of the phrase "I can't make this stuff up".
- OOC Is Serious Business: The Gooker Award page for Eddiesploitation is devoid of any images and audio, simply because RD didn't want to re-live any of it, much less subject his readers to it.
- Pro Wrestling Episode: A number of them from different television shows, including Step by Step, Family Matters, The X-Files, Garfield and Friends and the Australian remake of Are You Being Served? have been inducted into WrestleCrap, with writers usually noting that few of these are actually any good despite often getting actual wrestlers to appear in them (for instance, The X-Files had Rob Van Dam cameo in its pro wrestling episode).
- Punny Name:
- Mike "Mic" Check. A radio DJ who rambles about the good old days and whether he would play well in your market. Almost all spellings of the name is "Mike" and not "Mic".
- The induction on the WWE Cookbook covers how most of the recipes are named with wrestler-based puns: "Prawn Michaels", "Bayley's Chicken Huggets", "Ric Flair's Wooooopie Pies" and so on.
- Reading the Stage Directions Out Loud: Mentioned in an anecdote about Nikolai Volkoff auditioning for a film and losing the role because he couldn't read the script properly:He would say things like "Puts down mop" and "Mumble mumble" right out loud.
- Retcon: Stubby's death. He was killed in a BBQ fire, but brought back, somehow. When questioned about it he spun a double entendre-laden story about being snatched by a beaver.
- A Riddle Wrapped in a Mystery Inside an Enigma: In the induction for TNA's Last Rites Match from 2007, on the matter of Sting describing death as a "choice" where one of those choices is, in fact, life, RD calls the meaning and exact point of Sting's remarks a "riddle wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a crummy TNA storyline".
- Rogues Gallery: The TNA Correspondants, Johnny 6, Johnny 4, Megatrolla, Angry Jim Ross, Viewing Booth Bill Cosby, Nathaniel, Honky Tonk Mailman, Stubby, Mic Check and others.
- Running Gag:
- After writing an induction about Man Mountain Rock, he of the WWF guitar, RD began using an image of him shrugging complete with the caption "Yeah, I don't know either, dude." This is usually when RD or someone else asks a question regarding one weird moment in the induction. This was later replaced by (or used alongside) a GIF of AJ Lee looking into the camera and shrugging with a sort of "ehh, what are you gonna do?" expression on her face.
- Tiffany, former General Manager of WWECW, with the caption "YAY!" to show fake enthusiasm or joy. This was inspired by her notorious promo in which she cheerily declared the death of ECW wasn't "a bad thing; in fact, it's a good thing. No, it's a great thing!"
- Whenever WWE or TNA trot out the hoary old candelabras and coffins (usually for Sting or The Undertaker), you will see a grinning picture of Liberace.
- Blade's "Big Announcement", which he teased on and off on WrestleCrap Radio.
- Sarcasm Failure: What RD put on the Eddiesploitation induction. Needless to say, it was not a happy induction:RD: On the marquee of this site, it says, The Very Worst of Professional Wrestling. Truly, this induction is the very embodiment of that tagline. The seemingly never-ending exploitation of the late, great Eddie Guerrero is the absolute worst of pro wrestling, bar none.
- Second-Hand Storytelling: Blade always had some kind of story about his childhood friend Don........Don Mason. Such stories included having Don using the date rape drug on himself at a concert, taking a trip to a farm and seeing a man have sex with a horse, molesting Cabbage Patch Kid dolls, among other wonderful topics.
- Remember, folks, no matter what sort of crap you actually bought, you'll never be as big a dork as RD and Blade, who shelled out $200 for Katie Vick's cheerleading outfit signed by Triple H.
- On the Raw Underground induction, RD advises readers to never use the term "cool & hip" because "You'll sound like a 52 year old man writing on a website that's been around forever talking about the worst in pro wrestling."
- Sitcom Arch-Nemesis:
- The /wooo/ board on 420chan.
- Despite being the original WrestleCrap message board before the split, Freakin Awesome Network averts this because there is still plenty of crossover in members.
- Small Reference Pools:
- Any Todd Pettengil segment.
- "Note to self ask around to folks not as ancient as I if Austin Powers references are now considered nostalgic or simply dated. I like to think the former but fear the latter."
- Art's "Carnac the Magnificent" gags.
- RD's non-stop Simpsons references.
- "I've seen better [something] on Are You Being Served?". This actually became a Running Gag after the first time it was used, after the comment section pointed out the sheer weirdness of seeing the British sitcom being referenced on a site such as WrestleCrap. This eventually resulted in a wrestling episode of the Australian remake of Are You Being Served? (essentially a Shot-for-Shot Remake of the original show's wrestling episode) being inducted.
- So Bad, It's Good: RD makes it clear whenever necessary that some of the inducted gimmicks and storylines aren't flat-out terrible, and instead fall under this. One of the best examples of this is the Repo Man. He would also point out this when inducting the Ultimate Maniacs, the team-up of the Ultimate Warrior and Randy Savage, saying that the worst thing about it was that it was so short-lived.
- Speak of the Devil: "Speaking of" segues turn up in the inductions and radio shows.
- Take That!:
- The character Nintendo John was made specifically to dig at John Cena who one night came out on Raw and made numerous references to Nintendo games to crowd cheers. Any time Nintendo John would even mention Nin-Ten-Do!, applause would play.
- Art describes Step by Step as "consistently the second-least funny show on ABC's Friday night lineup — and that's only if you included 20/20".
- The induction of the Pro Wrestling Episode of The X-Files makes it clear that Art hates Kathy Griffin, who guest stars in the episode playing two identical sisters who create a Hate Plague in their surroundings whenever they are together, which Art rationalizes as "I'd be pissed too if I saw the most annoying woman in the world twice in one afternoon."
- The induction on WWE's 2021 Netflix movie tie-ins featured one in My Friends... and Zoidberg form:
- Tempting Fate: Every once in a while, commentary in matches or segments covered during inductions ends up sounding like this. Take for example this one from the infamous Goldberg v. Undertaker main event at Super ShowDown 2019:"Goldberg looking like a million bucks tonight", said Renee Young, five seconds before Goldberg rammed his own head into the ring post.
- Tradesnark: Used early on in the Money in the Bank 2020 induction:Art: Now, Money in the Bank matches typically don't provide any laughter... and neither would this one. But what it would provide was WWE Comedy.
- Very Special Episode: The induction of Trish Stratus in Armed & Famous (a Reality TV show in which celebrities, Stratus included, trained to become reserve police officers for the Police Department of Muncie, Indiana, and afterwards went on patrol) could be considered a subtle example of this. The induction was made around the time of the 2020 protests against police brutality as a result of the death of George Floyd (which, among other things, resulted in the cancellation of COPS), and as the induction progresses, it becomes less about Stratus's appearance on the show and more about the many negligences the show incurred, including featuring minors and a dead body on cameranote and, after being pulled from the air after only 17 days, being sued after a person was arrested by mistake and said arrest was featured on the show, while omitting the part about the arrest being wrongful.
- Westminster Chimes: The sound effect used for the short-lived Clocktrolla device on the WrestleCrap Radio podcast.
- What Could Have Been: Invoked: The "Rewriting the Book" columns are usually an example of this. For example, "What if Goldberg had defeated Kevin Nash at Starrcade?" or "What if the Montreal Screwjob never happened?"
- What the Hell, Hero?: In the HLA induction, one of the most troubling things that's mentioned is how many of the male wrestlers were excited about watching the lesbians backstage, yet when Eric Bischoff told 3 Minute Warning to beat them up, none of the wrestlers bothered to go out to the ring and help them.